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15 U.S.C. §§ 1681n and 1681o – Civil liability for Willful and Negligent Noncompliance: Statutory Language of the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) for Class Action Defense Attorneys

As a resource for defense attorneys who defend against class action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., we provide the text of the FCRA. The article sets forth the statutory provisions covering statutory liability for willful and negligent noncompliance with FCRA, which is contained in Section 1681n and 1681o, respectively:

§ 1681n. Civil liability for willful noncompliance

(a) In general.

Any person who willfully fails to comply with any requirement imposed under this title with respect to any consumer is liable to that consumer in an amount equal to the sum of

(1) (A) any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure or damages of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000; or

(B) in the case of liability of a natural person for obtaining a consumer report under false pretenses or knowingly without a permissible purpose, actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure or $1,000, whichever is greater;

(2) such amount of punitive damages as the court may allow; and

(3) in the case of any successful action to enforce any liability under this section, the costs of the action together with reasonable attorney’ s fees as determined by the court.

(b) Civil liability for knowing noncompliance.

Any person who obtains a consumer report from a consumer reporting agency under false pretenses or knowingly without a permissible purpose shall be liable to the consumer reporting agency for actual damages sustained by the consumer reporting agency or $1,000, whichever is greater.

(c) Attorney’s fees.

Upon a finding by the court that an unsuccessful pleading, motion, or other paper filed in connection with an action under this section was filed in bad faith or for purposes of harassment, the court shall award to the prevailing party attorney’ s fees reasonable in relation to the work expended in responding to the pleading, motion, or other paper.

§ 1681o. Civil liability for negligent noncompliance

(a) In general.

Any person who is negligent in failing to comply with any requirement imposed under this title with respect to any consumer is liable to that consumer in an amount equal to the sum of

(1) any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure; and

(2) in the case of any successful action to enforce any liability under this section, the costs of the action together with reasonable attorney’ s fees as determined by the court.

(b) Attorney’s fees.

On a finding by the court that an unsuccessful pleading, motion, or other paper filed in connection with an action under this section was filed in bad faith or for purposes of harassment, the court shall award to the prevailing party attorney’ s fees reasonable in relation to the work expended in responding to the pleading, motion, or other paper.